The censor’s call

Art Monthly Australia has had a rough trot lately, but it appears to have won at least one battle:

The father of the young girl who posed naked on the cover of an art magazine has welcomed the Classification Board’s decision to approve the image as appropriate for publication. The board reviewed the entire July edition of Art Monthly magazine, which featured a naked image of six-year-old Olympia Nelson on the cover, taken by her mother Pollixeni Papapetrou in 2003. The board gave it an Unrestricted: M rating, which means it is suitable for publication, though discretion is advised for people under the age of 15.

But there’s a very significant caveat to this victory:

Several members of the board did not agree with the final decision, arguing the magazine, which also featured other artworks involving sexually graphic material, should have been given a Refused Classification rating, which would have prevented it from being sold to anyone, a spokeswoman said. “The minority was split on which images warranted the RC,” Clare Bowdler from the Classification Board said. “Those included the cover image and several images inside the publication.”

The article doesn’t reveal how many members comprised the Classification Board on this occasion (out of the 15 members.) Note that the Board’s decision can be reviewed at the request of any Attorney-General in Australia.

To see why the Board could split on this question (and why the Charter would make no difference), see this post.  To see why the minority view could have left Olympia Nelson’s Victorian parents at risk of a conviction for procuring child pornography, see this post.  To see why Art Monthly Australia shouldn’t count on funding from the Victorian government in the future, see this post.

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